Thursday, March 1

Welcome Abroad

As I have been working on getting this blog ready for publication ie; pulling up old emails and sorting through journal entries from the past year and a half, I have been struck by just how very typical my adjustment as a foreign national has been. The expat help books all talk about the inevitable surge and wave of emotion a person will experience regarding his/her host country. At the beginning of the experience, the books promise, the expat will feel great admiration and love for the new place. Everything will be a grand adventure. All will be wonder, mystery and awe as the new resident discovers things about the new culture and country. Inevitably to follow such a honeymoon experience is the fall from grace for the adopted locality. Mind you, nothing about the country changes directly, but in phase II the expat will feel quite differently about the host country. Thoughts such as "how does this place even FUNCTION?" or "this country can do NOTHING right" creep in. Sometimes these are voiced aloud. More to the point the expat may rant: "These people are strange. This food is terrible. This weather sucks. I WANT TO GO HOME!" or some such diatribe rife with emotion. Big swirling, deep emotions. Ultimately a balance is struck, probably tenuous at best, wherein the expatriate settles into life in the new culture, no longer idealizing it nor demonizing it. Just letting it be.
So, very typical am I. Reading things like
this, this, and this points the way clear to my absolute LOVE of ALL THINGS DUTCH. Months later, admitting things like this show the beginning of the decline. As for the decline itself? I didn't write about it then, and haven't yet written about the chasm of grumpiness I was in for a few months while I adjusted to the idea of becoming a more permanent resident of this country, rather than a one-year adventurer. I tend to be a "glass half-full" person and have been oft-accused of having a positive outlook. Not writing about the negative things let me hang onto that image. I will say that I am out of the abyss now and have struck my bargain balance with living in The Netherlands. Perhaps I will write about the void someday; but for now, understand that this blog for me will be the outlet I am seeking to write about, well, everything.
The setting to express my emotion about living with the Dutch which can be simultaneously stimulating and deeply disturbing. The venue to point out what works so well here, and what simply does not. The spot to tell the things on my mind. This will be the place for me to say my something about all of it.
If you care to comment, I welcome your words.

Welcome to my life.


  1. Jenn:
    Thanks for the glimps into your new world. Sounds surprisingly similar to family life anywhere (it's just in "American" English here). Keep up the publication, and give my best to B. Don and the kids.

  2. I sat at my new computer and tried many forms of your name hoping to find your blog. Frustrated that I could'nt remember your middle name, I used your madien name and voila.